I had one of those moments recently. One that makes you pause and think, one that hits you right in the chest with a mix of emotional responses.
“I learned from him,” Chris said, pointing at me.
We were standing around and talking to fellow authors at The Sell More Books Show Summit after Chris Fox gave an incredible presentation on finding your audience. Chris is always a crowd-pleaser, and he is so generous with his time and expertise.
When I heard Chris say this to the person who had approached him, all I could do was smile and look down awkwardly at the tops of my shoes. I feel like an imposter compared to Fox. He’s sold hundreds of thousands of books and is on track to make a million dollars (and more) as a writer and publisher. I’m not in his league. Not even in the same sport.
But Chris was referring to the fact that before his entry into self-publishing around 2014, he was listening to The Horror Writer’s Podcast, my first show on writing and publishing. Chris and I then ended up in a mastermind together and have remained friends ever since.
Early on, while Chris was still a software developer in Silicon Valley, he had been listening to my advice.
Fast forward five or six years and now Chris’s sales are exponentially better than mine, which could have led me down a dark path.
I could have been envious. It would be easy to claim outrage on behalf of my ego and add a comment to what Chris said, some excuse as to why the guy giving the advice wasn’t as financially successful as the guy who had received it.
My other choice was to celebrate Chris’s success and acknowledge his gratitude with grace and dignity.
Outwardly, I don’t think I did either. I kept staring at my shoes until the attendee asked Chris a question, and the subject of the conversation changed.
But internally, I was proud of what Chris had accomplished and happy that I’d played some role in it, however small it seemed to me.
To Chris’s credit, he continues to support our live author events, and he always answers my emails when I ask him a question. I’m sure (and I hope it’ll be true) one of the students Chris is helping now will someday eclipse him in sales. And when that happens, I know Chris will be ecstatic for that author because that’s the kind of guy he is.
We’re all here to help each other, to lift each other up. I’m investing in a future filled with cooperation, collaboration, and universal benefit. Selfish motives driven by fear and hate will die.
More bridges, fewer walls.
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